Read 45.) Numbers 27:15-23 and 32:1 thru 42. From the Numbers 27 passage, Moses is 120. Israel is about to enter the Promised Land. Moses had forfeited his privilege of leading Israel in. As great as Moses was, he wasn’t so great that he could disobey the Lord, and not suffer a consequence. Israel was about to be without the steady hand of Moses’ leadership, which they were obviously in desperate need of at all times! Whatever could be done for Israel? As Moses would do in any time of uncertainty, he took it to the Lord in prayer! And, the Lord heard, and answered. As circumstances would have it, there was someone who had been in ‘training’ for the position for years already… Joshua, the son of Nun. We first learned of him from Exodus 17, and find him mentioned in chapters 24 and 32, as well. But, it is his mention and role found in Exodus 33:11 that strikes us. For the past 40 years, Joshua has been mentored by Moses, and was his ‘aide-de-camp’, as it were; continually serving Moses in his role of leadership. Joshua had been close to Moses the entire time! As the Lord had been with Moses, He would assure Moses, and Joshua, so the Lord would be with Joshua! There was no better qualified person among all the people of Israel! Moses had his answer. He had his man. He could rest in the assurance God gave him. And, why not? This was all about God, not Moses, or Israel! He would see to His own interests, and care for them best. He would use Israel to bring forth Messiah… one day!
Then, with all of Numbers 32, we have one of the Bible’s most popular expressions. How did that come about? After Israel had utterly destroyed Sihon and his Amorites, and Og of Bashan, in chapter 21; two tribes of Israel, those of Gad and Reuben, and half of the tribe of Manassah, considered that land just east of the Jordan River to be ideal for their flocks and herds, and desired to settle in it, rather than to cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land. What happened is these tribal leaders requested this land of Moses, and he, quite literally, ‘flipped out‘ on them, as verses 6 thru 15 attest. It was all a big misunderstanding on his part, as they were more than willing to be faithful and to obey in the matter of going over the Jordan, to help the rest of Israel take the land. They even offered to put themselves in the greater harm’s way of being first, leading in the front of the advance, says verse 17! It was from out of this particular event that we read of the very famous expression that Moses spoke to the tribes of Gad and Reuben, and goes to the very heart of God’s justice, and how it is bound up in His righteousness; and that is this: “You may be sure that your sin will find you out.” We have modernized the expression in our vernacular today, so that we might say to someone something like this: “Just because you don’t see payday come Saturday, know this; it’s payday someday!” These expressions are meant to help put us in a frame of mind, whereby we properly fear the Lord! We should know that it’s a common Hebrew Bible expression, but know this: It’s also a New Testament teaching, as well! Do you fear the Lord? It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell